Four wheeling and camping are naturally somewhat rustic. You are, after all, away from home and all the creature comforts that surround you there. Even so, you can still add a touch of class and style to your trip in the form of a good bottle of wine.
Wine? While camping? Sure!
Many people enjoy a glass of wine with their meals while savoring the fresh air and scenery of the great outdoors. In fact, I’ve found that a glass of wine with a home-cooked meal prepared in a Dutch oven while sitting around the campfire with friends is one of the nicest pleasures of life.
So, you’re probably thinking: OK, I’ll take along some wine next time. Anything I need to know? I’m glad you asked.
First, remember never to mix alcohol and driving. Some people feel that because they’re off road there are few dangers to driving while intoxicated. In fact, it can actually be more dangerous. You may not confront other drivers out there, but the terrain can be much more demanding and treacherous than you’ll encounter while in the city. Wait until you’ve parked for the day before uncorking the wine.
Transporting any kind of glass bottle is tricky. Wine bottles, because they are also rather tall, can be especially challenging. They need to be secured and protected from the bumps and vibration your vehicle experiences while off road.
I like to wrap the bottle in a bed roll or a Therm-a-Rest®. They hold the bottle securely and offer a lot of padding. My wife does not think this is an acceptable risk. If the bottles break they will spill all over my bed roll! So you might be better off rolling them up in a heavy towel and packing them in your dish box.
Another possibility is a bracket arrangement similar to those used for fire extinguishers and flashlights. The Quick Fist™ rubber brackets look like they would work quite well. Retailers that cater to 4WD enthusiasts often carry these types of brackets.
Since I first released this article, I discovered a host of other bags and boxes available to transport wine. One I like is the two bottle neoprene bag. The bag both pad and insulate the bottles. Most are designed so that you can pour the wine without removing the bottle – just roll down the top. The only improvement I would like, is a zippered top or other way to seal the bag. In the event of a bottle breaking, it would slow down or contain the wine in the bag.http://astore.amazon.com/www4x4trainin-20/detail/B000YDCWA4
If you have a lot of people or consume a fair amount, you might look into this 10 liter French Wine Jerry Can
As you’re packing your vehicle; store the bottle(s) upright, because they’re less likely to get broken. Bottles lying on their sides, especially on top of each other, tend to get rattled and break.
You also need to consider the wine glasses. Plastic ones, although they may seem a little hokey, make a lot of sense out in the country. I prefer glass, and pack some cheap wine glasses I acquired sometime ago. If you choose glass, make sure to pack those properly, as well. Otherwise, you’ll be slurping wine from your coffee mug.
Speaking of mugs, I’ve found that a large soda cup from McDonald’s or other establishments holds a standard wine glass very well. Its wide base is more stable, so you can safely set the cup on the ground or in the sand with little worry it’ll tip over.
A cooler is a natural choice for carrying chilled goods, and that applies to alcoholic beverages, as well. However, if your cooler is too short for a wine bottle—and you have some spare change—consider buying a 12v refrigerator/freezer. These nifty units are tall enough for a wine bottle and plenty of other items since no space is used for ice. ARB recently introduced a new model loaded with innovation.
Like any packaged item, wine leaves behind a bottle—sometimes a big one—when it is gone. Be a good steward of the land and bring out your empty beer and wine bottles with all your other trash.
Another solution to the “wine bottle” issue is “wine in a box”. There are some excellent vintages out there in a box.
I know someone who has a friend who transfers the wine into one of those Platypus bladders. The bladder can be rinsed and used for water later in the trip. In fact Platypus has a special design for wine. It is called the Platy Preserve.
I’m no wine specialist, but I’m pretty sure the jostling your vehicle takes has no effect on the sub $20 wine we take. It’ll get shaken up a bit, but that’s fine. My friends and I have enjoyed wine with many meals after a day of hearty off-road driving.
Finally, don’t forget your corkscrew! Otherwise, you and your loved one will be staring longingly at that bottle of merlot while you munch on your finely crafted dinner.
Take along a bottle of your favorite wine on your next off-road adventure. It will add a nice touch to your meal and your evening.